Sunday, 30 November 2014

Weekend Reflections: Stephanie Manchester

This time of year you often see barges like this on the Bridgewater, Trent and Mersey and other canals, clearing overgrown banks. It's rather amusing to see that they appear to be given names too. Taking part in Weekend Reflections.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Weekend in Black and White: Lincoln lights

Lincoln Square, Christmas Markets, far too early for Christmas but it's more of the nice warm feeling that you get wandering around. A lot of stalls selling sugar-laden rubbish and stuff no one needs, but some nice craft work on offer and the chalet hut bars are always a fun and sociable place to meet and drink.

Taking part in the Weekend in Black and White.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Skywatch Friday: Misty city from Brazil Street

Looking  towards Whitworth Street from Brazil Street on a misty lunch hour last week- it seemed rather quiet and quite atmospheric. My contribution to Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Thursday Challenge: Berlin Wall will finally fall (in Manchester)

The lonely leafed trees at each end of the dreaded wall make this a rather forlorn entry to this week's Thursday Challenge of leaves. Once upon a time Piccadilly Gardens, behind this wall, was an urban oasis of flowers and trees, with subtle leaf blossom in spring, bright colours in summer and auburn tinges in autumn.

The hideous "Berlin Wall" was commissioned by Manchester City Council years ago and has been hated by millions ever since. It may block out some of the noise and fumes from the bus station when you are in the Gardens but why it was never decorated with street art or plant life I will never understand. After many long running campaigns, finally a Manchester Evening News survey was listened to and things are gonna change. The wall will form the inside of retail units, which is not the answer but it's a start. To knock it down would cost at least £50,000 evidently, although I know a thousand Mancunians who would do it for free...

"For 12 years a big slab of grey concrete has blocked the view of Piccadilly Gardens from the south-east of the square. The wall, designed by acclaimed Japanese architect Tadao Ando as part of a refurbishment exercise after the 1996 IRA bomb, has long been compared unfavourably with the most visible symbol of the iron curtain.

Earlier this year the Manchester Evening News launched a campaign to get rid of the wall, after three-quarters of its readers said they hated it. The structure was also blamed for Piccadilly Gardens being dubbed one of Manchester’s worst tourist attractions by TripAdvisor."

Come the revolution, that disgusting concrete wall will be the first thing to come down. Until then I suggest covering it with hanging baskets or creeping plants or something,”"
 More at the Guardian

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

ABC Wednesday: "T" - from toilet to Temple

ABC Wednesday  finds time for "T" as we look inside The Temple of Convenience, a former underground public convenience that was transformed from a toilet to a bar in the early 1990s. It later dropped the "of Convenience" from its title. I was here the other week to discuss an exciting project with my artist friends Polyp and Eva Schunkle.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Gluhwein time of year

The slippery slope to the end of the year starts here. I have enjoyed my first gluhwein of 2014 at the Manchester Markets - in Lincoln Square as Albert Square gets too crowded at night. Cathedral Gardens is another good one, i.e. quieter, to head for. Last year's mugs all sold out as they celebrated the 15th anniversary of the Manchester Christmas Markets. This year's design is pleasing enough but the mugs are, necessarily, rather chunky and heavy, so I always get my deposit back rather than take one home!

Monday, 24 November 2014

Monday Mural: loyal dog @PeteMcKee

I love this part of Tib Street- three of my favourite places all in a row - coffee house, bars, eateries: Wood, Simple and North Tea Power. Then you step out into the evening to see some fun street art. This worried dog carrying a magazine is by artist Pete McKee.

Linked to Monday Mural at the Oakland Daily Photo blog.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Weekend Reflections & Inspired Sunday:: Elizabeth of Hungary

At Gorton Monastery each statue of a saint high on the wall has a handy information plate situated down below. Elizabeth is a patron saint of hospitals, nurses, bakers and brides- quite a heavy load for one woman, I would have thought. Taking part in Weekend Reflections and  Inspired Sunday .

Saint Elizabeth

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Across the miles: American Authors & Mike Dignam @aauthorsmusic @mikedignammusic

Brooklyn band American Authors played their first ever Manchester gig at the Academy 3 on Wednesday, and Tim Sutton-Brand was there to capture these great photos. The alt-rock band played tracks from their Oh What a Life album and stated several times how they'd always wanted to play Manchester- its reputation as a music city must be well known in the New York borough they are from.

Thw support act was local Lancashire lad Mike Dignam from Preston, who also went down a storm, and both acts stayed behind to meet the fans- a nice touch- Mike's off to play Paris, Munich, Hamburg and Berlin next while American Authors return to gigs in the US of A.Hope they both go far...

Friday, 21 November 2014

Skywatch Friday: Taking things for granted

You could walk past Albert Square most days, as I do, and end up taking it for granted. It's good to make time and concentrate on areas of it to relish the architecture, just as I would if I were walking around Bruges. I spoke to a macaroon vendor trading in the square who usually trades from Bruges this week, hence my comparison. Taking part in Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Thursday Challenge: Architecture- Making a grand entrance at UMIST

The main building at UMIST is, I believe, one of a range of large buildings from the 1890s to 1960s that are up for sale since amalgamation with the University of Manchester. 

This grand entrance is part of what I have been told (by a colleague at Visit Manchester) is the largest brick-built building in Europe, with 8 million bricks used. The delicacy and grandeur of the stained glass is what I'm focussing on today though.

Taking part in The Thursday Challenge, which this week has the theme of "architecture".

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

ABC Wednesday: "S" is for stars and rainbow stripes

ABC Wednesday reaches the letter "S".The stars and rainbow striped flags outside New York New York bar. You'd have hoped homophobia was a thing of the past in any country that purports to be civilised but sadly not, as the mindless attack on two gay men who dared to sing a song on a tram on 1 November illustrates. There was however, a wonderful show of support from the majority of people, culminating in an LGBT choir singalong on the tram this week.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Funghi fun guy


Toadstool found out on a walk around Reddish Vale. Photo taken by Susie and taking part in Ruby Tuesday Too.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Monday Mural: Tree at the Park on West Ham Street

A tall tree in the pub garden of The Park Public House in Lancaster. The garden is round the back on West Ham Street. Those windowless walls on the end rows of northern terraced streets have their uses...Taking part in this week's Monday Mural.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

L'Amour no more, love for let...

L'Amour was a restaurant and bar that currently occupies this Altrincham building. But like many other clubs, cafes, bars and restaurants that have come and gone here over the last 15 years or so, it's now up for let again. Amberworks was one, I am sure I remember an American jazz-themed and another French-themed one before that...I think there was once also something called Chicken Grill too.

It's surprising to me, as Altrincham is affluent and its bars and restaurants are abuzz most nights with a wide range of ages partying and splashing the cash.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Weekend Reflection: Dale Street

When you can see a magical beauty, even in a puddle of dead and dying leaves on a grey autumnal day, you know that you have the key to true inner happiness!
Taking part in Weekend Reflections.

Friday, 14 November 2014

A vanishing view, by night

Same view as yesterday but a few hours later. I'll miss the view when it is obscured by the Ugly sisters but to be fair in order to see the view, I have to lean out over my balcony, twist, and look into the city, so it's not something I do that often anyway.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

A vanishing view, by day

Proving that an eclectic mix of architectural styles can work... We have Chethams' School of Music (red brick with tower), Urbis/National Football Museum (glass building) and The Printworks -once home to the Mirror Group's printing press and now cinemas, bars and restaurants (and rather cool looking inside where they have preserved or reinvented one of the original features).

Sadly this vantage point looking south-eastwards out of Salford and into Manchester will be blocked off soon, as the two "ugly sisters" dire black and glass office blocks a la Milton Keynes 1982 are rising fast. Tomorrow I'll show you the same view at night..

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

ABC Wednesday: "R" is for rustling through the leaves

ABC Wednesday reaches for the "R"s. The last of the leaves were hanging on in there as we rustled our way through them around Dunham Town last weekend... the cottages with leaf-strewn lawns. First posted on my Instagram account: 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

"Listen son" said the man with the gun... #UsAndThem

A World War I centenary memorial in Dunham Town.

One of the most powerful and poignant pieces of music ever composed is surely Us and Them by Pink Floyd: it sums up the futility of war and how the masses are sacrificed for the gains of the rich and powerful.

"...Us and Them,
and after all we're only ordinary men
Me, and you
God only knows it's not what we would choose to do
'Forward' he cried from the rear and the front rank died
The generals sat, as the lines on the map
moved from side to side..."

Monday, 10 November 2014

Stevenson Square at dusk (again!)

  1. Here is Stevenson Square at dusk - which I inadvertently published a week earlier than I intended for Monday Mural, and which generated these comments. My excuse is too much work and not enough time to blog! Apologies. 

    I meant to ask: 
    Is it a pencil, is it a totem pole, is it a missile? Taking part in the Monday Mural.
  2. Interesting esp. with the bus behind.
  3. Terrific shot! The mural definitely stands out, as does that oversized portrait of a child.
  4. Love those murals! The double decker in the background makes the whole scene kind of surreal.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Weekend Reflections: Dunham pond

Dunham Pond last weekend - it always puts me in a reflective mood...  Taking part in Weekend Reflections.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Skywatch Friday: Parsonage Gardens

Parsonage Gardens early on Tuesday morning. Lovely Century buildings where a two bed apartment could cost you £300,000. My blue sky contribution to Skywatch Friday.

 With the temperatures in high teens and low 20Cs on the last day of October, and still warm this week, the only signs of autumn are the trees and the cool air at the start and finish to the days. If I were mentioning this elsewhere on social media I guess I would use the hashtags #ClimateChangeToldYouSoDecades Ago or #ActNow

Thursday, 6 November 2014

God save Der König / Vintage trolleybus

On Tuesday morning I passed this lovely old trolley bus en route to work. I had no time to stop and ask about it but it grew puzzled looks from many. It had vanished 24 hours later. Maybe I was seeing a ghost of transport past? The route it would have taken, according to the sign, was Cheetham Hill, Belle Vue, Whitworth Park and Brooks Bar. 

Those signs on board encourage people to sign up to fight in World War I. I imagine the otherwise lovely trolleybus was here to pay homage to the working masses in World War I but haven't seen or read anything else about it.

The rather unlikely “God Save the King” slogan reminded me of a documentary I saw last year on the UK royal family. During World War I revolutionary fervour amongst the British populace was so high that the royals feared being overthrown. This was compounded by their Germanic surname of Saxe-Coburg Gotha. So they tried to appease any local anti-German feelings (which if course had been stirred up by other parts of the UK establishment and media to recruit troops) and find themselves a British sounding name instead. So they chose to name themselves after the local town of one of their many palatial homes - Windsor. (They could have, still could in theory, become the Balmorals, Sandringhams, Buckinghams, Hillsboroughs, Highgroves, Kensingtons or many others).

Elizabeth Windsor wanted to change the surname to Mountbatten in the 1950s a few years after she had married ex-Cretian Philip. But her mum refused. Philip privately complained, "I am nothing but a bloody amoeba. I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his own children.” 

(Quote from Brandreth, Gyles (2004). Philip and Elizabeth: Portrait of a Marriage. p.253–254. London: Century).

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

"Q" is for quirkiness personified: octopus on an elephant...

ABC Wednesday joins the "Q" and this week finds me with one of the quirkiest posts I have done yet. While many narrowboats' roofs are cluttered with a combination of traditionally painted ironmongery, coal, wooden logs, washing lines, plant pots with flowers and vegetables, satellite dishes and solar panels. I'd not seen a boat sporting an octopus nor an elephant until I walked along the Macclesfield Canal last month.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Monday, 3 November 2014

Monday Murals: Secret squirrel and fox trot

These squirrel and fox stencils on the side of the Wheatsheaf pub have since been painted over. I'm glad I caught them last year. I took them at this angle to create an impression of going up a hill.

 Taking part in the wonderful Monday Mural meme, sharing innovative street art around the world.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Weekend in black and White: Old stables & clock tower Dunham Massey

The old stable buildings and clock tower from the 18th century across the misty lake at Dunham Massey. Taking part in the Weekend in Black and White.,

Saturday, 1 November 2014

City Daily Photo Theme Day - Landmark: Archimedes in autumn


The November City Daily Photo Theme Day topic is a local landmark. This statue of Archimedes on Altrincham Street might not be the most obvious landmark for many Mancunians but it is for me. Archimedes, in mid-exit from his bath after another Eureka moment. That's not the first nose he has had, either. Created in 1990 by Thompson Dagnal, there is more information on it here.

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